May 4, 2018

Todd Frazier - And Others - May Ready For Robots

Todd Frazier is pissed off. The Mets infielder wants to meet with commissioner Rob Manfred about what he believes is the dismal performances of umpires in calling balls and strikes.
"I'd like to sit down with Manfred or anybody at MLB and talk to them about it, because it's rubbing everybody the wrong way. You have to be better than that."
Frazier said "everybody" included hitters around the National League. He said poor home plate umpiring has been a problem "for years ... There is no accountability".

Frazier recently met privately with an umpire after one game. Frazier did not identify the ump, but said the postgame report provided to the Mets stated that the umpire missed 14 pitches, including five during Frazier's plate appearances.
I asked the umpire if he understood how many pitches he missed. He said, No, I didn't miss that many pitches. I said he missed 14 in one game. Which is the truth. He said he had a better percentage than that ... I respect him for [meeting with me]. At the same time ... they are blatantly not strikes. I just can't sit back anymore, something has to be said. ... The more we talk about it, the more frustrating it's getting. [T]he umpires have to get better, plain and simple.
Peter Botte of the New York Daily News wrote on Thursday:
After strongly residing in the "human element" camp for years when it comes to umpires, I finally have come around on the need to soon implement the use of computerized technology — at least at some level — to aid the men in blue in universally enforcing the strike zone. ...

[Commissioner Rob] Manfred said late last year that computerized technology wasn't ready for implementation anyway, but former player and current MLB Network analyst Eric Byrnes has been among the most staunch advocates of using whatever information already is available to help the umps now.
Eric Byrnes, a former player and current MLB Network analyst, was quoted in Botte's article:
Look, man, I'm beating the drum over and over and over again, and guess what, I'm gonna continue beating the drum until all of a sudden the same information I'm allowed 3,000 miles away from where the game is being played, you've got to give it to the home-plate umpire. Why are we taking this information and we're giving it to everybody except for the only guy who needs it? The home-plate umpire. ...
We put a man on the moon 50 years ago and here we are using this archaic system still to call balls and strikes. It's ridiculous. ...

The human element is the players. It has and always will be the players. We see the human element on a nightly basis. ... But every single pitch is determining the outcome of the game. The delta in OPS between a 1-1 count and 1-2 count or a 2-1 count is like .400 points. In a game that's all based on statistics, we're being irresponsible by not implementing it. It's as simple as that.


Jere said...

Dave O'Brien reacted to this by playing dumb and saying something like "it doesn't seem noticeably worse this year...." and Remy agreed.

FenFan said...

To paraphrase Byrnes, it seems ridiculous that we have all this technology that tells you instantaneously whether a pitch is a ball or strike, yet the umpires cannot use this to their advantage OR flat out refuse to use it for fear that it will expose them as *gasp* human.

Maybe 14 pitches called wrong in a game doesn't seem like much when umpires have to make a call on more than 250 thrown in a game (that's my SWAG), but the difference between a count of 3-1 versus 2-2, or 2-0 versus 0-2, is HUGE.